Motsoeneng rejects Icasa ruling on SABC

SABC's COO says various independent newsrooms are guilty of censorship for not reporting good news.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operations Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has denied the corporation is guilty of censorship, and says he won't hesitate to defend its editorial polices, even taking the matter to the highest court in the land.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has recommended the public broadcaster withdraw editorial changes it made in May, when it decided to ban the airing of violent protest footage.

However, Motsoeneng says the corporation will not back down.

"We are not going to change anything, people should forget. Newspapers can come together, Right 2 Know, and everybody - we invite you to do that, we are equal to task."

He says the SABC will not broadcast footage of violent acts, but this is not censorship.

"I want to deal with the issue of this hullabaloo, because it is still hullabaloo when people talk 'censorship'. I don't know what the SABC is censoring."

Motsoeneng says various independent newsrooms are guilty of censorship for not reporting on good news.

"If you talk about censorship, because you know English better I think - because you are clever people, I think all newsrooms censor stories every day. Maybe we also need to say 'why are we not seeing good stories? (sic)'"

LISTEN: Icasa waiting on official response from SABC

At the same time, the broadcaster says it won't apologise for its editorial policies and will take today's Icasa ruling on review.

The public broadcaster held an urgent briefing at its headquarters in Auckland Park earlier today.

The SABC says it believes it was right to ban the broadcasting of the destruction of property during protests.

It says it stands by its decision not to show footage of property being destroyed across all its platforms.

Board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe says, "We still believe this is a moral and conscientious decision that we have taken."

The corporation's COO says they are reviewing the Icasa ruling and are also seeking legal advice.

"We are clear on what we are doing, and we still believe that we are within the Broadcasting Act. We are within the regulations."

Meanwhile, an unknown man was escorted out of the briefing after he attempted to interrupt the briefing by shouting "away with censorship".

The corporation says it won't apologise for what it says is "the promotion of responsible journalism".

Motsoeneng added the SABC won't be backtracking on anything.

"If there are issues about Icasa ruling, we are challenging that ruling so that if we need to go to the Constitutional Court, that is where the matter will end."

The COO says he believes outside forces are trying to destroy the public broadcaster, insisting they are not going to win.

To read the full judgment, click here.